Roller Shades

Today’s modern commercial roller shades can help businesses control light and solar heat to optimize comfort, employee productivity, and energy efficiency. Vendors provide a wide variety of woven fabrics with different shading capacity. The exterior-facing side of the shade should be bright white or metallized if blocking solar heat is important.

Fabrics present complex choices for customers who want to balance shading, natural lighting, glare prevention, view, and fashion. The advantage of colored shades and open weaves is that they preserve the view outdoors and they reduce glare more effectively. However darker shades and open weaves don’t block solar heat as well as tight weaves with bright white or aluminized fabrics. However the white fabrics don’t reduce glare as well as dark ones and white fabrics and tight weaves block the outdoor view.

Some specialized fabrics are designed to preserve the view while preventing glare and blocking solar heat. Other innovative fabrics are colored on one side and white on the other, owing to a special weaving process. And still other colored fabrics are sprayed with a metal coating to reflect solar heat.

Mounting and operating shades requires awareness of sun angles. The summer sun shines from the east in the morning and the west in the afternoon at low angles, creating heat and glare for rooms facing east and west. South windows admit solar heat during the middle of the day, coming from high in the sky. If the building has overhangs, the bottom of the south-facing window glass needs shading more than the top, which may be already shaded by an overhang. In this case, consider mounting the shades at the bottom of the window to provide effective shade while allowing a view and natural light. Remember that natural light doesn’t save you any money unless you dim artificial lights or turn them off when natural lighting is adequate.

You can open and close your shades manually or with electric motors and automatic controls, depending on the size of the shade installation. For just a few shades, manual control works well, assuming that the occupants understand sun angles and how to maximize the shades’ effectiveness. Medium-sized shade installations often employ remote controllers, similar to a TV remote control. Larger installations employ central controllers that sense light and solar-heat and then adjust multiple shades to their optimal positions. Shade control systems can also open the blinds at night in summer to let heat escape and close them at night during winter to add a little insulating value to the window.

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